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The Pitfalls of Planning a Complicated Travel Itinerary on Your Own

Perhaps no segment of the marketplace has been swept more significantly by the do it yourself craze than is than has been the travel industry. Indeed, many travel itineraries can be developed taking the do it yourself approach.

Understanding the ubiquitous nature of do it yourself travel resources, there remain situations in which you simply do not want to take the DIY travel planning avenue. The reality is that there exist a number of major pitfalls if you try to pull together a complicated travel itinerary on your own.

A Complicated Travel Itinerary Case Study: The African Safari

Mac Weatherby had been on an African safari in the 1970s. He decided he wanted to experience such a travel adventure one more time in the 21st century, in the age of do it yourself travel resources. On his first Safari, some 40 years earlier, Mac utilized the services of a reputable travel professional. On the second go-around, Mac decided he would go it alone and develop a travel itinerary on his own. As Mac fully admits after the fact, that decision proved to be one of the biggest mistakes he has ever made.

The first mistake made by Mac was breaking his planned safari down into its component parts. He made separate arrangements for airfare, lodging accommodations, and for the safari itself. In the end, Mac obtained a decent deal on airfare between New York City and his destination in Africa. On the other hand, his lodging costs proved more expensive than he would have liked. He received no special price accommodation with the tour company at his destination that arranged the safari itself.

What Mac didn’t understand, and was unable to take advantage of, were some special comprehensive safari packages that are accessible by professional travel consultants, but not through DIY portals. Mac could have saved money across the board if he had engaged the services of an experienced travel professional.

If that had been the extent of Mac’s problems, the DIY yourself course wouldn’t have proven to be a disaster. Sadly, the negative aspects of Mac going it alone did not end with cost issues.

Mac ended up having an issue with obtaining a visa. He misunderstood an element of that process, which resulted in a delay in the processing of his visa application. Indeed, he did not catch his error immediately and having to go back and correct the situation resulted in Mac having to postpone his trip. He ended up paying an additional fee to both the airline and the safari tour company to reschedule his adventure. The hotel change proved easy, at least for Mac.

Another issue cropped up regarding immunizations. Mac needed to obtain them, but obtained inaccurate information about what was necessary. After the visa mishap, Mac went back and revisited the major things on his checklist and discovered that what he had initially done in this regard was not appropriate when it came to the requirements of his destination country.

Finally, Mac didn’t obtain suitable travel insurance to cover an issue like a weather development preventing him to get to the location of the planned safari as scheduled. Due to a significant weather delay in New York, and a terribly tight itinerary from the Big Apple to the safari site, Mac ended up arriving a day later than scheduled. In other words, he missed the start of the specific safari group he scheduled and paid for in advance.

A full refund was not available. He was able to reschedule, but had to pay an additional fee to the tour company to accomplish this. He also had to adjust his return air travel, at a cost. He ended up spending more time at the hotel than he originally anticipated, increasing that cost as well.

The Importance of a Travel Professional

If you are planning a more complicated trip, you need to carefully consider whether you want to try and develop your itinerary on your own, or seek the assistance of a skilled, experienced travel professional. Of course, you may not be contemplating an African safari. Nonetheless, what happened to Mac needs to serve as a cautionary tale to you.

Anytime your trip involves a foreign destination, or a unique destination activity like a safari, be cautious about going the do it yourself route. One seemingly minor misstep can have a cascading effect. Your entire planned trip can end up upended. You can end up spending an inordinate amount of money both in arranging the trip in the first instance and in correcting problems you created along the way.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Documents International LLC, a leading apostille service for individuals and businesses.

Top Seven Boston Tech Startups

Boston is one of the oldest, most iconic cities in the United States. It founding predates the founding the USA by well over a century. Beginning in the 1960s, Boston has also been one of the central locations in the United States in which tech companies were brought into being.

Long before the creation of Silicon Valley, Boston was known by (the admittedly less catchy) “America’s Technology Region.” With a variety of highly regarded institutions of higher education in the area, including MIT, Harvard, and Boston University, Boston was a natural location for the birth and nurture of tech startup enterprises.

Boston experienced a bit of a slump when it came to tech startups, a downturn that roughly coincided with the Great Recession that surprised the country in 2008. Boston has moved from that slump and is once again on the road to becoming a prime location for the creation and launch of new tech ventures.

Through the years, Boston has been the launching pad for a number of successful tech startups. Seven of these startups have enjoyed considerable success in the United States and, in some cases, around the world.

Wayfair

Wayfair launched in Boston six years before the Great Recession, in 2002. Wayfair is an online furniture retailer that has turned the world of furniture sales on its head. The company exists completely in cyberspace, with no brick and mortar world presence.

Within recent years, Wayfair has taken the furniture sales marketplace across the United States by storm. The company has amassed an amazing track record utilizing a wide array of web-based resources, particularly social media.

Acquia

In many ways, Acquia become an industry leader when it comes to content management systems for businesses of different types. Indeed, launched in Boston in 2007, Acquia was the content management system before businesses fully understood what these solutions were all about.

Acquia continues to grown. It now includes among its clients a number of major players, including Mercedes Benz and Twitter.

Sure, Twitter and Facebook are fun, but the Web has millions more sites full of other great stuff. More than 4,000 big companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Quicken, use Acquia for their Content Management System to enhance their digital experiences and personalize displays for customers. Clients also include Twitter and Mercedes Benz.

Carbonite

Carbonite was a new startup in Boston in 2005. Carbonite provides cloud-based storage and backup for individuals and small businesses. Carbonite was a pioneer in the realm of cloud backup. Among small businesses, and more than a few individuals, Carbonite has become a household world, synonymous with safe, reliable cloud backup and storage.

Brightcove

2004 brought the birth of Brightcove in Boston. The company was conceived in response to the growing number of people who wanted to share video via the Internet. Brightcove leverages its cloud-based platform as a means to publish and then distribute digital media of all kinds, including video. In point of fact, a live event streamed online very well may have been distributed via Brightcove.

American Well

The medical and healthcare industry is evolving. Since 2006, American Well has been a part of that evolution. A Boston startup, American Well connects doctors with patients for consultations via secure video links Oftentimes, this protocol is referred to as tele-medicine or tele-health.

Level Up

Launched in Boston in 2008, Level Up is a unique, powerful app that allows people on the go the ability to order ahead at many popular restaurants across the country. Not only can they order ahead, but they can pay their tabs via Level Up. Level Up truly has become a powerful application as a majority of consumers now transact online business via mobile devices. Restaurants indicate they have seen a notable jump in their carryout and order ahead business when they connect with prospective patrons via Level Up.

DataXu

DataXu heads the pack when it comes to utilizing science and data to improve targeted ad placements on the internet. In other words, DataXu has designed a system that tremendously enhances the targeting of a business’ digital ads to precisely those consumers who want that particular information. In the end, both advertisers and consumers are fair happier and satisfied. The company started in Boston in 2009 and has been garnering investors and customers ever since.

As mentioned at the outset, the tech startup scene is again powering up in Boston. Industry analysts predict that more than a few of the “next best things” will spring to life in Boston during the coming decade.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

Making Air Travel Easier and Safer for Your Pets

Our pets are our family members. This is a simple reality. As a result of the close bond that we have with our pets, we oftentimes take our furry loved ones on vacation with us.

In the end, it really should go without saying that we want the easiest, safest, and most enjoyable course of travel for our beloved pets. This certainly includes a trip that will involve air travel.

Fortunately, in recent times, some airlines have been working pretty hard at better accommodating out furry family members when we travel. Some of these developments are worth noting.

Airports are Evolving

During the past five years, a number of major airports in the United States, and elsewhere around the world, have become more proactive and are taking more significant steps to better accommodate traveling cats, dogs, and pets. JFK Airport, serving New York City, is a prime example of what some airports have been to when it comes to better accommodating furry travelers.

JFK has constructed a special climate controlled terminal area specifically designed to accommodate pets. The section of the terminal as been appropriately called “The Ark.” This area is proving to provide a travel respite both for dogs, cats, and other furry travelers as well as their human compatriots. In many ways, there is noting as comfortable as being able to come together before or between flights with travelers in similar situations.

First Class is Changing

Research revealed that a significant number of passengers who typically fly first class have one complaint. Historically, many airlines didn’t permit furry companions to accompany their humans in the first class cabin.

An increasing number of airlines have begun to reexamine this policy. These airlines have come to a realization that the number of passengers who might dislike sharing a first class cabin with non-human travelers is significantly less than the number of first class travelers who dislike the fact that they have been unable to travel in the prime cabin if they bring their pets along.

Over the course of the past three years, some major airlines have been loosening the restrictions that they once had in place pertaining to pets in first class. The transition has resulted in more than airlines becoming more liberal in permitting pet in first class.

For example, an increasing number of airlines are not only opening their doors wider to pets in first class in the first place, but they are serving special treats for pets that do travel in the prime cabin. Some airlines are even providing pet-perfect blankets to permit furry fliers the ability to snuggle and nap in comfort when traveling.

Addressing Cheating the System

Most people that travel with pets do so on the up and up. In other words, most of us bring our pets along following the rules and regulations established by the airlines. These include paying whatever fee might be charged to bring a pet along in the cabin during a plane flight.

A digression for a moment is important. The safest (and most comfortable) way you can travel by air with your pet is by bringing your furry family member along with you in the cabin. Of course, there are limitations, primarily based on size and species, when it comes to a pet brought into an aircraft cabin. However, if your pet does meet the basic requirements permitting travel in the cabin, that should be the selected course to optimize safety and comfort for your pet, despite an associated fee. (There is also likely going to be a fee for stowing your pet in the cargo hold. It may be less. But, the price difference is nominal considering the benefits obtained by you and your pet traveling together.)

Unfortunately, there are a handful of air travelers who have abused the ability of people with emotional support animals to bring these furry companions on board a commercial airplane without paying an additional fee. These individuals have lied about their pets being emotional support animals in order to get a cheaper flight.

Airlines have cracked down on this cheating the system in recent months. In the end, travelers who lied about the status of their pets proved detrimental not only to individuals who legitimately do travel with emotional support animals as well as to other pet owners who abided by airline rules and regulations. In the end, changes made by airlines to better control the manner in which a claim of traveling with an emotional support animal is made will benefit all travelers.

Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.

Stay Safe On The Roads This Winter

It’s that time of year when temperatures plummet and we’re faced with weather warnings of heavy snow and icy roads. With so much going on throughout December in the lead up to Christmas, it’s easy to forget about road safety. It’s during this time that we should take extra care when driving and ensure that our cars are in excellent condition to avoid a breakdown on the side of the road. Here are a few things to remember before you set of on your journey.

Check your tyres

Before any long car journey in the winter, it’s important that you regularly check your tyre pressure and for any punctures. Make sure your tyres have the right tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm but safety experts say that it’s best to have at least 3mm. Another thing to remember is to check your spare tyre. The last thing you want is to have to pull over to change a bust tyre only to find out your spare is bust too. If you think your tyres are a bit worn then there are places like www.tyreplus.co.uk that can help you pick out the right tyres for your vehicle and if you are unable to go to one of their fitting locations, they will come out to you.

Check your vehicle’s liquids

Ensure your vehicle’s oil is topped up as it could start causing problems with the engine if it’s not. This is quite a common problem as people tend to overlook it. Other liquids you need to remember for your car journey are brake fluid, engine coolant and screen wash. During the winter weather conditions it’s vital that you have clear visibility of the road, so always make sure you have the right amount of screen wash.

Take extras emergency supplies

This seems like quite an obvious thing to remember but you’d be surprised how many people forget. Take an extra supply of water, snacks, flask with hot beverages and blankets with you so if you do get held up on your journey you have a good stock of essential items to keep you going. Remember to take the vital supplies too, such as ice-scraper, torch, phone and charger and a first aid kit. If you’ve checked your car thoroughly then it’s very unlikely you will breakdown but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are travelling with children it’s best to take some travel games with you to keep them busy.

Remember to carry out these three simple safety checks the next time you are setting off on a long car journey and have a safe trip.